The Pagan Origins of Black Friday

By The Second City | Nov 29, 2013

Get your tasers ready, because today is Black Friday!

For those of you who don’t know what Black Friday is, it is a most holy day where mothers and aunts everywhere pop a couple of post-Thanksgiving Alka-Seltzers and head to the local Wal-Mart in order to SNAG SOME SWAG!

However, what most Americans don’t realize is that Black Friday is actually a day rich with tradition. Below is a list of common Black Friday traditions and their Pagan origins, perfect for reading while you’re standing outside of a Best Buy at 3:30 a.m. or surviving a shooting at Kohl’s.

Doorbuster Sales

Stemming from the Roman ideal of giving less desirable items more social value by discounting them, the Pagans used to sell all of their pigeon meat by placing it next to their roasted peacocks.

Which means... these big-ass sales are the reason you risk getting pummeled to the ground by a woman wearing a soiled Tweety Bird tee. Those of us who have paid $5.99 for a copy of Bob Saget’s Father and Scout because it was sitting right next to a $19.99 copy of The Royal Tenenbaums can certainly relate to that.

Standing in Line in the Middle of the Night

According to Pagan tradition, engaging in group trance time at night can help foster the proper environment for collective insight.

You hear that? Waiting in line outside a Toys R Us is SPIRITUAL.

Trampling People

The soft-soled leather shoes of our Pagan brethren once tread upon the rolling mossy hills.... on their way to the temple so they could trample each other to get to their assortment of gods first.

Now the ground is laid with the soft-bellied lumps of our fellow consumers who were not strong enough to fight against the tides of roiling human flesh. At Old Navy.

Fighting Over the Last Toy

Nothing shouts “togetherness” like a couple of middle-aged women fighting over a singing and dancing Sesame Street toy. Nothing, of course, except for two middle-aged women fighting over a pit of lions that have been starved near death and prodded with a trident.

Hungover, Disgruntled Store Employees

I know, I know. Everyone understands that the hungover and disgruntled employees at a Black Friday sale are just the modern equivalent of Norse bridge trolls. The only real difference is that instead of standing idly by while someone’s grandmother gets side-tackled in aisle three, the bridge trolls are drunk off troll ale and trying to come up with three coherent riddles.

It’s almost a cop-out to include them in this list.


Kristina Felske is a writer, actor, and improviser currently living in Chicago. She is an editor and regular contributor to the daily humor site The Other Otter ( and has a performance-y resume posted on You can tweet her @kristinafelske.

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